Why bad culture is scarier than a hard conversation

We work with enough leaders like you to know that hard conversations are scary in their own way. You probably wouldn’t use the word “scary,” but there are real fears that get in the way, such as:

  • Emotional or defensive reactions
  • Impact on the business of a key person leaving
  • Lack of clarity and experience in knowing how to have them
  • Uncertainty of whether the outcome is worth investing your limited time

Can you relate to delaying or avoiding a hard conversation for any of these reasons?

Here’s the reality: one person’s unaddressed behavior will have an exponentially negative impact on your culture the longer it goes unaddressed. Good people will leave. Those who stay will be miserable. Customer experience, supplier relationships, your own motivation & energy—all of these can be negatively affected by one person, and those impacts tend to add up over time until they spill over in some spectacular way.

But human beings aren’t very good at prioritizing long-term gain over short-term pain. (This one insight explains a lot of consumer behavior around money, food and health.)

If you’re putting off a hard conversation, try asking yourself some of these questions to adopt a long-term mindset and find the motivation to deal with the problem now, before it escalates.

  1. Would you want your team to be publicly known for this behavior?
  2. What influence does this person have on the rest of the team? Is that influence likely to attract and keep the people who can help your company accomplish its goals?
  3. What example does it set for others when you don’t intervene? Is that something you want to be known for?
  4. Imagine that you hired & retained someone for this role with all of the current person’s skills but none of their current flaws. What positive impact would that have on you, on the team, and on the company? Now, what amount of your time & effort is that positive impact worth?

Make the choice this week to have the hard conversation that will propel your business forward, and let one of our experts help you prepare to make an effective impact. Contact us today.



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